Friday 23 July 2021

Frankie and the Fossil

Frankie and the Fossil by Jess McGeachin (Puffin Books) HB RRP ISBN 9781760898847

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

A cheese sandwich is crucial to this story. It is what Frankie has for lunch the day she’s in the museum of natural science and what she feeds – despite the ‘don’t feed the fossil’ sign --- to a dinosaur skeleton which she sees on display. Frankie knows ‘everything’ about dinosaurs: she ‘could tell you the height of a Hadrosaurus, the length of a Leptoceratops and how to spot a Stegosaurus.’ What she doesn’t know is that the dinosaur she’s fed follows her and her mother home from the museum.

That night, unable to sleep, Frankie tries naming dinosaurs alphabetically. When she comes to a Diplodocus, she sees a giant head on a long neck peering at her through her bedroom window. Frankie thinks it’s a dream, but in the morning, she finds the same dinosaur outside her house snoozing in the sunlight. She makes her new friend some toast, of which it eats ‘every last crumb.’ The two play together, but next day a palaeontologist from the museum turns up to take the dinosaur to its rightful place.

Of course, life is lonely without her friend, but Frankie thinks of a brilliant idea – and she follows through with it, which is how this engaging picture book story ends.

No doubt any small child who loves dinosaurs will love this book, which is filled with full-sized illustrations, many of which are set inside the museum. The last double-page spread is particularly worth examining – one feels as though one is literally inside the museum, looking at the exhibits, which include a woolly mammoth and Frankie’s Diplodocus. To further interest the young reader there is a double page spread of over 20 dinosaurs in, what the label says, is ‘Frankie’s Prehistoric Sandwich Guide’ and which are arranged alphabetically.

This book is sure to win many fans.

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